HONOLULU — Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against Hawaii that claims the lights at several state-operated airports are harming imperiled seabirds.

Earthjustice filed the suit Wednesday on behalf of multiple conservation groups, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (http://bit.ly/2xvqkqQ ). The groups claim the state is in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Earthjustice wrote in a news release that the state Department of Transportation has failed to address injuries and deaths of three species of seabirds at airports and harbors on Kauai, Maui and Lanai.

The birds listed in the suit are the threatened Newell’s shearwater and the endangered Hawaiian petrels and band-rumped storm petrels.

“It is incredibly saddening to know how endangered these seabirds have become,” said Marjorie Ziegler of Conservation Council for Hawaii. “They are integral parts of our island ecosystem and native Hawaiian culture. We hope this lawsuit will finally spur our government to take the necessary steps to protect them.”

Seabirds are attracted to the bright lights, but become disoriented and circle around them, then fall to the ground from exhaustion or crash into nearby buildings.

The state Department of Transportation said it can’t comment on specific allegations in an active lawsuit. But it said the agency has taken steps to operate facilities in ways that protect threatened and endangered seabirds and other species.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com